Fourth industrial revolution ‘could leave UK behind’

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The Independent Online

Manufacturers are gearing up for a “fourth industrial revolution” but warn that the country could be left behind because of the pace of change, a report shows.

Research by the EEF revealed that most firms believe the next revolution (4IR) will happen faster than previous changes in manufacturing, with two out of five worried about how to keep up.

The manufacturers' organisation predicted more high-skilled jobs through “smarter” production methods and digital technologies.

Companies recognise they will have to adapt to meet customer expectations and remain competitive, said the EEF.

Chief economist Lee Hopley said: “4IR is happening and the UK's success in this global industrial transformation will hinge on manufacturers' strategies and ambitions.

“4IR goes far beyond simply investing in new technologies and techniques - this new era requires cultural shifts, new business models and the ability to adapt and innovate. Above all, it requires strong leadership.

“Manufacturers are ready to do the heavy lifting, but their efforts must be supported across the sector and supply chains and backed up by Government through its new industrial strategy.

“If we get this approach right then the UK can expect to be at the forefront of this global industrial wave. Get it wrong, however, and the UK will be left trailing in its wake.”